Simon Luke, Strategy Specialist at GBC, 4 min read
If you’re anything like me then you would have many problems to solve and a million thoughts running through your mind on how to solve that problem. But now and again we run into roadblocks and just can’t seem to crack it. When I run into roadblocks, I would generally brute force a solution. I’m sure many of you reading this blog will know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’d normally spend a few hours trying to crack the problem and force a solution. Then in despair and frustration, eventually call it quits and give up…JUST FOR THE TIMEBEING! Now here’s the amazing bit. Next morning, I’d wake up and voila, problem solved…clear as day. Have you ever encountered this phenomenon? You’d go to bed with a problem and wake up with the solution, clear as day. You rush to your notepad or computer and within minutes you suddenly feel the weight of the wold has been lifted off your shoulders and you’d then soldier on to your next challenge.
From time to time, I also find that I’d be working on a problem all morning. I’m engrossed and entrenched in the problem and just cannot seem to crack the code. Suddenly, what feels a like a few minutes turns out to be hours, and its lunch time already. I leave my desk for a half-hour breather and bite to eat when miraculously, the solution pops into my head. I’d open my journal app on my iPhone and jot down the solution. Then, get back into the office and implement the solution within minutes. Job done!
So, you may be wondering why am I telling you something that you already know. That’s because it’s important to be reminded, from time-to-time, to take a break from a problem. You will see things clearer in the morning or later after completely relaxing or focusing on something-else other than the problem. Sleeping and walking are two of the best techniques to improve your problem-solving skills regardless of the type of work you’re involved in.
I also find that most problems are best solved when you give your mind a chance to completely relax. Working your mind hard by being on your mobile phone or obsessing when you’re about to go to sleep, keeps your subconscious mind busy which is distracting it from putting together solutions to your problem.
So, the next time you’re faced with a difficult problem to solve and you’ve been at it for hours to no avail, think about leaving it. Forget about it, take a walk, have a nap or grab a Starbucks coffee. Get a good night sleep and your brain will do the rest.
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